The aim of this page is to provide useful information for operators of the IC-T90 6 Meter/2 Meter/70 CM tri-band handheld ham radio who are visually impaired. Hopefully this page will assist those who would like to get a good idea of what the radio looks like and how it operates (whether they already own the radio or are looking into purchasing it). Additionally, you can listen to a demo I originally recorded for ACB Radio - here is the mp3 (about 20 Mb in size).
The manual for
the t90 is pretty accessible when converted from pdf -
click on the URL below to access the PDF manual, or paste the URL into the
body of an email message sent to firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like a text
of the PDF file emailed back to you.
Here is some general information about the Icom IC-t90 which is good to know for optimal use by the visually impaired:
When using the dial to choose a configuration option from the menu, or to set a value for a configuration option, the selection does not wrap once you've reached the lowest or highest value. For example, if you are picking a value 1 through 5 with the dial, and the dial currently resides on 5, turning the dial to the right will not start over at 1 again; the value will remain at 5.
The buttons on the t90's key pad perform multiple functions - just pressing a button, holding the button down for 1 second, or holding the button down for 2 seconds all do different things. Exceptions to this are the power and volume buttons. Pressing a button causes the radio to emit a short beep, holding a button down for one second results in a slightly longer beep, and holding a button down for 2 seconds typically results in two short beeps.
When entering a frequency or memory location by number using the key pad, the last digit entered will always produce a slightly longer beep. For example, entering a frequency consists of 3 digits, followed by a decimal point, and three more digits. Entering 145.340 will produce a slightly longer beep when you press the 0 button. Entering memory locations will produce a beep on the 3rd digit, as memory locations are only 3 digits long.
Here is a description of the t90 (sides and top of the radio
Here is the layout and labels of the buttons on the front panel of the
Here are the labels for each button. I'll use the appreviations exactly as they appear on the radio so it will be possible to recognize buttons as they are mentioned in the t90 manual. As each button has multiple functions, I separate each function by a comma (,):
|row 1:||1,v<>d||2,tone||3, h/l||mode, scan, emits touch-tone #||vfo,Mhz, emits touch-tone a|
|Row 2:||4, dup||5, skip||6, m.n||0, rit||mr s.mw, p|
|Row 3:||7, d. scan||8, set||9, ts||., dtmf.m, emits touch-tone *||call, TV, lock|
The buttons which say "emits touch-tone ..." will emit the associated DTMF touch-tone when PTT (the transmit button) is held down. If pressing the numbers while PTT is held down, you'll of course emit the DTMF numbers (0-9).
The t90 has a built-in morse code synthesizer to anounce the radio's operating frequency in morse code (in 10, 15, 20, and 25 words per minute). Click here to here the morse code synthesizer (the frequency is 145.145). The easiest way to turn on the morse code synthesizer is to hold down the tv/lock button (bottom row, far right) while powering on the radio - hold down tv/lock while holding down the power button, and let go of both buttons once you hear the radio has turned on. TO hear the current frequency in morse code, hold down the band button (right next to the power button) for one second.
By default the morse code synthesizer outputs morse code at a rate of 20 words per minute - to change this we will need to go into "set mode" (you may want to skip this for now if you are just getting used to the radio). If you'd like to change the speed of the morse code synthesizer, do the following (these instructions will not work if you have already changed the status of the exp1 and exp2 options in the set menu):
TO set a PL tone, the radio must be in VFO mode first (the VFO key is the first row, far right), then do the following:
TO program a memory location, do the following:
Press the "MR S.MW" button (second row, far right) and enter a 3 digit
memory location on the key pad (000-499). The display will read "001mr"
(if 001 was the memory location you selected). The frequency and other
options (i.e. subaudible tones) associated with the memory location will
now be used. From here you can select other memory locations in the same
manner, or return to VFO mode by pressing the "VFO/Mhz" button (top row,
far right). IF you want to flip through your memory locations, use the
tuning dial while in memory mode.
Selecting a Memory Location:
Press the "MR S.MW" button (second row, far right) and enter a 3 digit memory location on the key pad (000-499). The display will read "001mr" (if 001 was the memory location you selected). The frequency and other options (i.e. subaudible tones) associated with the memory location will now be used. From here you can select other memory locations in the same manner, or return to VFO mode by pressing the "VFO/Mhz" button (top row, far right). IF you want to flip through your memory locations, use the tuning dial while in memory mode.
Here is a list of PL tones and their corresponding dial positions - for
information on how to use PL tones, see the section on setting PL tones:
Transfering a Memory Locations's Contents to VFO:
Sometimes it is nice to transfer a memory location's contents (frequency,
subaudible tones) to VFO mode, such as when you want to tune around near
the frequency in the memory location. Transfering the contents of a
memory location to VFO is assentially the opposite of programming a memory
Here is a list of PL tones and their corresponding dial positions - for information on how to use PL tones, see the section on setting PL tones:
There are twenty-one options in the set menu, two of which can be expanded to add additional options to the menu. Probably the most strait forward way to navigate the set menu is to keep both expanded options turned on if you will ever use any of the option provided in the expanded sets. Expanded set 1 will always be dial position 20, and expanded set 2 will be dial position 21 if expanded set 1 is turned off - this makes it possible to always set the expanded sets to a known state.
Here are the available options for the set menu (hold down the 8 button for one second to access set mode).
If expanded set mode 1 and expanded set mode 2 (exp1 and exp2 respectively) are turned on, here are the rest of the set menu options. Although it is possible to turn off exp1 and leave exp2 turned on, there would be no way of knowing whether dial positions above 20 were selecting exp1 or exp2 options.
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Document Last Modified: Friday, March 05, 2010